Saturday, July 20, 2013

Schwabacher Summer Concert

L to R: Pene Pati, Zanda Švēde, Issachah Savage
Photo by Kristen Loken
Thursday night I heard the Schwabacher Summer Concert, featuring 8 Merola artists in semi-staged scenes from 6 operas. The singers were in concert dress & accompanied by a full orchestra on stage behind them. Steamer trunks, a few props & lighting changes provided the scenery. The performance was supertitled. All the Merolini sang out at a consistent volume & were engaging actors.

Baritone Alex DeSocio makes a firm, open & resonant sound, & his death scene from Don Carlo was secure & received appreciative applause. Soprano Aviva Fortunata sang Donna Elvira's "Ah, chi mi dice mai" & Desedemona with a sustained loudness & focus. Bass-baritone Rhys Lloyd Talbot moved around the stage a lot during his rendition of Leporello's Catalog Aria, so though he sang it with ease, he was not always with the orchestra.

The excerpt from L’Italiana in Algeri got the busiest staging, which included ropes, gun-toting harem guards & Isabella emerging from a steamer trunk to sing "Cruda Sorte!" Tenor Matthew Newlin's voice sounded even throughout it's range, though a bit stiff, in Lindoro's "Languir per una bella." Mezzo Zanda Švēde was a standout. Her voice is distinctively deep & viscous, & she was a confident & sultry Isabella.

Pene Pati
Photo by Kristen Loken
Tenor Pene Pati's voice was wonderfully warm, connected & Italianate in the final scene of Lucia di Lammermoor. His singing is fresh & musical, & he seems to have untapped reserves. He ended with a thrilling high note (high D?) definitely not in the score & received extended applause & cheers. Issachah Savage showed off his powerful & weighty tenor voice & very clear diction in a too-brief assignment from Otello. He was stunning.

Apart from a shaky Mozart overture, the orchestra, led by Kevin Murphy, played buoyantly. The brasses sounded nicely mellow in the Don Carlo excerpt, & the woodwinds were neat & transparent in the introduction to Act IV of Otello. The orchestra never overwhelmed the singers, whose voices rang out vibrantly into the auditorium. The audience was attentive and quiet, though latecomers seated during the performance caused some noise. The singers received enthused applause & bravos. A cellphone rang during the Otello excerpt. A gentleman in the back of the auditorium sighed loudly in the silence ending quiet scenes. The program will be repeated in a free performance at Yerba Buena Garden, Saturday, July 20th, at 2:00 PM

§ Schwabacher Summer Concert
Conductor: Kevin Murphy
Director: Roy Rallo

Overture to Der Schauspieldirektor (W.A. Mozart)

Don Giovanni (W.A. Mozart)
From Act I, Scene 5
Donna Elvira: Aviva Fortunata
Don Giovanni: Alex DeSocio
Leporello: Rhys Lloyd Talbot

Don Carlo (Giuseppe Verdi)
From Act IV, Part 2
Rodrigo: Alex DeSocio
Don Carlo: Pene Pati

L’Italiana in Algeri (Gioachino Rossini)
From Act I, Scene 3
Lindoro: Matthew Newlin
Mustafà: Rhys Lloyd Talbot
Haly: Thomas Richards
Isabella: Zanda Švēde
Taddeo: Alex DeSocio
Ensemble: Pene Pati, Issachah Savage

Lucia di Lammermoor (Gaetano Donizetti)
Act II, Part 2
Edgardo: Pene Pati
Raimondo: Rhys Lloyd Talbot
Ensemble: Matthew Newlin, Issachah Savage, Alex DeSocio, Thomas Richards

L’Amico Fritz (Pietro Mascagni)
From Act III
Fritz: Pene Pati
Beppe: Zanda Švēde
Offstage Chorus: Aviva Fortunata, Zanda Švēde, Matthew Newlin, Issachah Savage, Alex DeSocio, Rhys Lloyd Talbot

Otello (Giuseppe Verdi)
From Act IV
Emila: Zanda Švēde
Desdemona: Aviva Fortunata
Otello: Issachah Savage
Cassio: Matthew Newlin
Iago: Alex DeSocio
Lodovico: Rhys Lloyd Talbot
Montano: Pene Pati

Thursday, July 18 at 7:30 PM
Everett Auditorium at Everett Middle School

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